By Katie Stanley
This Thanksgiving was certainly one to be thankful for. All of us, though beginning to feel tinges of homesickness with the holiday season, are so grateful for the wonderful opportunity we have been given to live and travel abroad.
Because of this opportunity, Thanksgiving runs a little differently here at the UP Salzburg Center. Since a four-day weekend is prime material for a longer trip (say, Spain or Poland), we celebrate Thanksgiving with a communal dinner the weekend before the actual holiday. Then we disperse across the continent, giving thanks in our own ways on buses or trains or planes.
Though the event was on Sunday, the preparation began as early as Friday with the baking of seven pumpkin pies—and that was only the beginning. The next two days were entirely filled with a flurry cooking, baking, decorating, cleaning, and setting up. Each committee contributed to the effort, led by the ever-persevering culture committee, which was in charge of the event.
The result was an absolutely fabulous feast: three turkeys, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, brioche, cranberry sauce, stuffing, apple pies, pumpkin pies, and more! The decorations were fantastic, thanks to spiritual committee and others who helped. Our beloved Center was sparkling and festive. Besides the forty students, we also welcomed thirty or so guests: professors and their families, Frau Strobl along with her husband and her friend, friends that had accompanied us to Paris, and a few members of a fellow Salzburg study abroad program for University of Redlands.
Everyone dressed up—some in our traditional Dirndls and Lederhosen—and had a wonderful night of chatting, laughing, and eating. It was terrific to have some time outside of class to engage in conversation with professors, learn a bit more about them, and discuss aspects of our studies about they have particular interest. We also had the pleasure of viewing an exhibition of paintings by our very own Father Mark, which were beautiful and added to the holiday cheer. It was a blessing for us all to celebrate a familiar American holiday in the company of our new Salzburg family. And as for our guests, well, we don’t want to brag, but there were rumors that it was the best Thanksgiving dinner the Center had seen for some time.